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Most of us have been there at some point: we’re in the jacuzzi or at the beach on a hot summer day, we get in the water, and a short time later we notice a breakout on our bikini line, back, or chest. Or maybe you just had a long day and you notice those small red bumps pop up.
It’s never fun - and it can be confusing! Is it a simple breakout? Folliculitis? Allergies? Something else?
Here’s how to tell the difference between a breakout and folliculitis – and what to do about each problem.
Folliculitis, quite simply, is inflammation of the hair follicles. It can appear anywhere on the body where there is hair, including the buttocks, arms, legs, back, and the groin area.
There are manythings that can irritate hair follicles and cause folliculitis, including:
As you can see, the list is long and varied.
There are also two main types of folliculitis: sterile folliculitis and infectious folliculitis.
Acne, on the other hand, can often include inflammation or cause inflammation down the line. That said, acne is primarily caused when hair follicles become clogged by dirt, debris, oil, and dead skin cells.
Folliculitis can eventually cause acne, as it can close up the pores and make that dirt, debris, and bacteria become trapped. That said, acne can also be caused by things like:
These factors can lead to many types of acne, including:
Clearly, there is some overlap between the two, but there are key distinctions between acne and folliculitis. If you’re trying to distinguish between the two, look for signs of folliculitis like:
You can also talk to a dermatologist directly, and they will be able to tell for sure.
If it turns out that you have folliculitis, you can treat it with:
And, of course, make sure that you wear moisture-wicking clothes, shower directly after a workout, and use non-comedogenic products.